Missing catalytic converter

i just bought a truck from an individual yesterday and took it to get inspected today. the catalytic converter has been removed and so it won’t pass inspection, i can’t get it licensed, drive it legally, etc. is installing a catalytic converter something my friends and I can do or does it require a lot of knowledge and expensive tools? is it legal for us to put one on or is there a legal requirement for professional installation?

You’ll have to crawl under there and look at it. If you’re really lucky, whatever bozo did this just unbolted the converter and put a straight pipe with the same connectors in its place. If that’s the case, then it’s a pretty easy DIY job. However, what’s more likely is that they cut it out and welded in some pipe or, even worse, might have put in a whole new “performance” exhaust system that doesn’t allow for a converter, in which case you’re kind of at the mercy of an exhaust shop.

No ‘code’ requirements other than it must be original equipment designed for that application.

You need the equivalent of a Papal dispensation to fit anything after market, exceptions are permitted where the remainder of the exhaust system is intact and the cat has failed. State laws differ slightly, but you’d be better of replacing the cat exhaust section.

I don’t think anyone is requiring OEM converters. They do require OEM ccompatible or equivalent.

My converter was recently stolen. It was the bolt-on type, not the welded-type. So it’s very easy to put one on. Price from Toyota dealer was over $1200, junkyard was $300. I bought it for $180. on-line. Buy the direct-fit. If it’s welded, then a muffler shop has to do it, unless you hae the equipment.

I thought it’s now illegal for junkyards to sell used converters.

Also, a trip to a truck shop might be in order as well. If the cat. was really stolen, then it might happen again. A truck/offroading shop should be able to put some kinda metal plate over your exhaust pipes so that should help deter would-be thieves from trying to pilfer your cat. off the truck.
As silly as it may sound, there have been a couple posts on here recently that have said their cat. was stolen off their truck/suv. This is because they’re easier to get underneath with a cutting tool, and the metals(mostly platinum) in the cat. are worth a good deal of money when melted down.

It’s also illegal to steal them…but it happens every day.

If there’s a buck to be made someone out there will be willing to make it, legal or not. I’m not excusing it, just stating facts.

Heck, he may have even bought his own converter back!

I run two Catco cats (dual exhaust conversion) I bought on ebay for $35.00 each. They’ve worked great for 4 years and I’ve had no problems passing inpection.

What year and make is the truck? Some aftermarket cats will cause the after cat o2 sensor to set a code.

Given the price of many factory cats, it’s cheaper to use an aftermarket one and then by a “dummy” o2 sensor from Summit of Jegs to fool the ECU if you have problems with CEL.

I forgot to mention that I have the new converter welded by a neighbor after I installed it.

this is the rason I got an scion xb

What state are you in? Some states with tough emission laws may require that the converter be in place before the car is sold.
California is one of the toughest. Maybe someone with more knowledge of this can weigh in and determine if the seller violated the law by selling the vehicle to you. If that turns out to be the case then it’s possible the seller could be in some trouble.

Read this EPA article first. It explains the conditions under which a properly labeled and inspected used cat converter can be legally installed.

Since the requirement to have a catalytic converter in that model year of car is a federal requirement, I think your costs to restore the converter can be a successful small claims court lawsuit, particularly if the vehicle had passed a state inspection in the past by the person who sold you the vehicle. I would act quickly and get the job done professionally, then file the small claims court paperwork quickly.

Here is the EPA link I referred to

Here’s the EPA memo indicating that EPA will tampering violations. Many states have companion laws, like Texas and Maine, so you may want to also talk to your local prosecutor and/or nearest EPA office, to gain a criminal prosecution as well. In Texas, it is illegal to sell you the vehicle without the cat converter.


For a federal agency, they sure don’t impress me with their writing or proof reading skills. Sheesh.

I’ve had an after-market direct fit Walker cat in my Buick and been just fine. Paid about $150. It clamps on not welded.